In our last post about email marketing, we talked about how a subject line is the perfect component of your email to test for higher open rates. And while we gave some valuable subject line tips, we thought you could use a quick checklist to compare against when writing.
Lo and behold, the 10-Step Email Subject Line Checklist:
1. What’s the length?
Subject lines with fewer than 50 characters have open rates 12.5% higher than those with 50 or more (Constant Contact). Keeping your subject line shorter ensures your whole message will be seen on a variety of devices. Most inboxes only display 30 to 40 characters, and that number shrinks on mobile.
If you try to keep a 20 to 40 character subject line, you should be in good shape.
2. Do you have a call to action?
Each email you send should work toward a goal in your marketing strategy. Think about what action you need your audience to take in order to achieve that goal, and try to make it apparent in your subject line.
3. Have you avoided major spam words?
Avoiding the junk folder is easy if you are mindful of the language you choose in your subject lines. This Ultimate List of Email SPAM Trigger Words from Hubspot should steer you in the right direction.
Biggest ones to remove, if you don’t want to read the whole list, include: Free, Buy, Click, and Open.
4. Do you create a sense of urgency?
How many emails do you get in a day? Too many to count? That’s what I thought.
You have a very small window of time to grab the recipient of your email’s attention. Be aware of this fact, and use your limited number of characters to entice them to take the action you intended.
This could be as simple as changing “Rake in the Savings for Fall” to “Only 2 days to Rake in Fall Savings.”
5. Are you being relevant and not random?
While we want to create a little mystery in our subject lines to provoke an open, it is essential to not write a subject line that has NOTHING to do with the content of the email.
People are more likely to open an email when they know exactly what they will get upon opening (and have a genuine interest in the topic). So be open and honest, and your audience will act naturally. This can help you later on by segmenting your audience in categories based on which emails they have opened.
6. Can you add personalization?
Using what you know about your customer base can come in handy when trying to boost engagement. By using the attributes and previous actions taken by your customers, you could enhance your subject lines to be personalized and targeted to every individual in your audience.
For example, Twitter will send you notifications when you have new followers. Because they know I’m interested in who has followed me, the social brand takes the time to add the follower’s name to grab my attention:
7. Is your email part of a series?
It’s important to build momentum throughout your email strategy. Previous steps remind you to keep things interesting and direct, and if you know which point in the email cycle your audience receives each email, you can make your improve your subject lines (and open rates).
Try adding “Part 2 of 4” or “Step 3 in Confirmation” at the beginning of your emails to encourage your customers to either expect more emails from you, or go back to emails they may have skimmed before.
8. Does it show off your brand’s personality?
With all of these steps it is important not to forget who you are as a brand. Be sure that your subject line shows off your personality, and demonstrates if you are a cheeky tech start-up or trendy hair salon.
If you can immediately relate to your customers, they will want to foster that relationship with your brand through email.
9. What surrounds your subject line?
If you are showing off your personality like you did in step 8, you want to be sure your recipient knows who they are formulating that relationship with – 64% of people open emails because of the organization it is from, compared with 47% of people opening emails because of what is in the subject line (Constant Contact).
Take a look at what your audience sees in their inbox:
Image Source: Unbounce
Your ‘from’ field can distinguish an email coming from your billing team or support team to separate it from your marketing messages. The H1 tag will show up in that ‘short preview’ spot and can guarantee a cohesive message from your brand.
10. What are you testing?
Last, but not least, email is a great place to always be learning about your audience. Therefore, I cannot stress enough how important it is to always be testing.
If you have a pretty cut-and-dry message that needs to be sent, take the opportunity to play with the subject line to understand a little bit more about your customer. For more advice on how to A/B test, reflect back on the article we shared in the beginning: Effective Email Marketing: 5 Email Elements to Test Right Now.
Share some of your favorite subjects that demonstrate these steps in the comments below!
About the Author: Deanna Zaucha is the Content Marketing Coordinator for Webs and Pagemodo, and also manages our social media presence. She can be found on a dance floor, or on her iPhone keeping up with trends in marketing and tech. Get more from Deanna on Webs’ Blog and Google+.